Tonight in HD: May 21

SoHo Highlight: Game of Thrones (Sky 10, 8.30, 5.1) Jaime meets a distant relative; Dany is invited to the House of the Undying; Theon leads a search party; Jon loses his way in the wilderness; Cersei counsels Sansa. “Terrific: intelligent, moving, neatly plotted,” said The Daily Telegraph of episode seven. “Mostly it was driven by intimate conversations, rather than big action set pieces.” But The Independent thought there was too much talk: “After such an action-fuelled episode last week things seem to have suddenly lost pace again. With three episodes remaining let us pray to the old gods and the new, and the Lord of Light, for good measure, that there will be no more dawdling.” Meanwhile, as the Los Angeles Times pointed out: “With each passing week, tiny changes from the plot of the books are rippling out and causing the series to deviate more and more from what was widely praised as a near-identical transcription of the books during season one. A Man Without Honour is the latest and most striking example yet of the cumulative effect these changes are having on the series, with very few scenes from the episode playing out exactly as they did in the book.” ✮✮✮✮

Season Highlight: Modern Family (TV3, 8.00, 5.1) After closing on the sale of a house to Mitch and Cam’s friends, Phil and Claire take the two of them out for a celebratory dinner where they proceed to over-indulge in drinks. “Tonight’s Modern Family isn’t the funniest episode of the series—or the season, for that matter—but it’s a standout for two closely related reasons that have little to do with its zingers-per-minute rate,” said the AV Club. “First, its storyline is completely driven by personal relationships and relatable human emotion, rather than cartoonish car crashes or high-concept visual gags. Second, the episode treats Cameron and Mitchell’s quest for a second child with the sensitivity it deserves.” The episode prompted Time to dub Modern Family 2012’s answer to Friends: “In a strange way, Modern Family may be today’s closest analog to Friends, which when it came down to it—with all its unconventional, broken and ersatz families—was really a show about the improvisional nature of family structures today.” ✮✮✮✮

Home & Away (TV3, 5.30) Harvey pushes Roo away; Dex tells April he can’t be with someone he doesn’t trust; VJ is attacked by new student Jett James. ✮✮

Friends (TV2, 6.30, R) An upset Ross dates Janice after discovering that Emily is getting remarried; Monica hates the fake laugh that Chandler uses in response to his boss’ terrible jokes. ✮✮✮✮

Special: Shortland Street (TV2, 7.00) In this 90-minute instalment, Nicole helps the Jefferies, Ula struggles to extract herself from her dilemma, and Chris’s troubles take a terrible hit. “This is without doubt the biggest single episode that Shortland Street has ever made,” says producer Steven Zanoski, who predicts “viewers will be on the edge of their seats from beginning to end”. It’s the beginning of a Shortland Street commemoration marathon, with returning characters popping up in storylines spread across the week and a 20 Years of Bloopers special (albeit not in HD) on Friday, the night of the serial’s official 20th birthday. ✮✮✮✮

Last Man Standing (TV3, 7.30, 5.1) When Vanessa gives Mike a history of their house for his birthday, they discover that a woman who once lived there over 100 years ago died upstairs. ✮✮

Criminal Minds (TV One, 8.30, 5.1) The BAU is in for a ghost of a time when the team investigates ritualistic murders in Oregon. ✮✮

Revenge (TV2, 8.30, 5.1) Blood is spilt and a life is lost in this dramatic double-episode for which TV2 is pre-empting Desperate Housewives. It’s banking on exceptional ratings for lead-in Shortland Street to provide a bumper-sized audience that will set up Revenge for not only the rest of the season but also as next year’s Housewives successor. ✮✮

Movie: Hitman (TV3, 8.30, 5.1, R) If you thought Justified star Timothy Olyphant dumbed down his movie career to be the villain in Die Hard 4.0, wait until you see him play a shaven-headed hitman with a bar code on the back of his skull in this gruesome, ludicrous video-game dramatisation. His mysterious assassin works for an equally murky agency that assigns him to kill Russia’s president – the not-so-surprising twist is he turns out to be the patsy in someone else’s sights. Father & Son’s Dougray Scott and Magic City’s Olga Kurylenko co-star. (2007) ✮✮

Person of Interest (TV One, 9.30, 5.1) The numbers are up for the Dons of the five New York crime families.  As Elias takes aim at his competition, someone close to Carter may pay the price. ✮✮

GCB (TV2, 10.30, 5.1, R) Another chance to see the season premiere that The Dominion Post’s Jane Clifton praised as “wonderfully funny” and “leavened with some nice incidental observations about American attitudes inside the Tea Party-prone states”. ✮✮✮

Saving Grace (TV3, 11.15, 5.1) Grace gets an investigation running when a jogger with an intricate love life is murdered. ✮✮

Sky Movies Premiere: Chicago Overcoat (Sky 20, 8.30, 5.1) Variety said this energetic, “professionally crafted gangland drama”, about an aging hitman who hopes to finance his retirement and provide for his family with one last job, “musters mob-film cliches with verve” and “boasts the most charismatic mafia murderer since Tony Soprano”. The Sopranos’ Frank Vincent and Kathrine Narducci head a cast that includes Stacey Keach and Armand Assante. Ironically, it screens opposite season three of The Sopranos in HD on SoHo. (2009) ✮✮✮

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